On paper, Monday nights game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars should have been a laughter of a matchup. Baltimore came into this week 4-1, with one of the most dominating defenses in the league, and was coming off of an extra week to get ready for this game. Jacksonville, meanwhile, was 1-4 with a rookie QB and sporting a one dimensional offense. Add it all together and you should have a predictable Ravens win.
If it's been said once, though, it's been said a thousand times; that's why you play the game.
In the NFL, once the first whistle is sounded, records and stats go out the window. From that point, it's up to the team with the most heart, skill, luck and will for 60 minutes to get the W. On this Monday night, it was the Jacksonville Jaguars who did just enough to squeak out a 12-7 win over the heavily favored Baltimore Ravens.
The Jags used a stifling defense that hounded, pounded and confused Ravens QB Joe Flacco. Jacksonville's defense only allowed 16 yards offense to the Ravens in the first half, a franchise record, including only 1 yard passing to Joe Flacco. The Ravens finished with 146 total yards, the fewest yards the Jaguars have allowed since 2004.
"We were confident about this game," Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "We knew we had to outplay them. The difference between this and the other weeks is that we started fast. Our defense is capable of that. That's why we hold ourselves to a high standard. We just needed to taste victory. Now that we have, we're going to keep it rolling."
The Ravens offense was so flummoxed by the Jaguars smothering defense that they didn't even get their first, first down until 5:26 mark of the third quarter. Baltimore's only score of the night came late in the fourth quarter, with 2 minutes remaining, when Flacco put the finishing touches on a 90 yard drive with a 5 yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin.
Unfortunately, it proved to be too little too late.
"They basically beat us with their defense," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I don't think it was any one thing. It was a lack of execution. It's almost as bad as you can play on offense."
While the gameball for the win does deserve to go to the Jaguars defense, their offense was able to grind up the clock with an effective ground game led by Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD, as he is known, ended the night with 105 yards on the ground as the Jags held the edge in time of possession by over 13 minutes.
"It finally feels good to win one after all those losses," said Jones-Drew, the first player to run for 100 yards against the Ravens since last December. "It was nice to show the world what we're about. We beat a very good team."
This was a much needed win for both head coach Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars as a whole. With the AFC South still very much in the air, this win keeps Jacksonville in the running.
The Jaguars will look to improve their divisional standing with a game against Houston next week while the Ravens will look to bounce back against the Cardinals.
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